If you are seeking to legally adopt the child of your spouse, you are not alone.
Adoption by a stepparent is the most common form of adoption. Just because the process is common doesn't mean it is uncomplicated. If you are seeking an Oklahoma stepparent adoption, our team is ready to help walk you through the process.
Oklahoma Stepparent Adoption Process
- The stepparent must file a petition to adopt with the proper court. This can be done in the county where you live or in the county the child lives. Your spouse must agree to the adoption.
- The stepparent must also file an application to terminate the parental rights of the biological parent.
This is frequently the major bottleneck in a stepparent adoption case. There are two ways in which you can terminate the parental rights of the other current parent and move forward with the stepparent adoption:
The easiest way to terminate the parental rights of the other current parent is through a mutual agreement. Some parents are open to relinquishing their rights, but every case is different. The other parent may be willing to consent given that the final order will end their obligation to pay future child support. Please note that if the other parent is deceased you only need the consent of your spouse.
Termination of Parental Rights through Court Order
Not every parent will be willing to voluntarily sign away their parental rights, however. Under certain conditions, the court will terminate the parental rights of a natural parent without their consent.
The termination of parental rights requires a court hearing, and it is strongly recommended that you have legal counsel to represent you.
Final Orders in an Oklahoma Stepparent Adoption
When every requirement is met, the court will set a final hearing in which your attorney will ask you a series of formal questions regarding the adoption. At that hearing, the judge will sign the final order that formally grants you the rights of a parent.
Legal Effects of Adoption in Oklahoma
Under Oklahoma law, the adoption of a stepchild confers onto the stepparent all the rights and responsibilities of a birth parent - you will have the same rights under the law as if you were the child's natural parent. In addition to the rights regarding custody and parental decision-making that a stepparent will gain, there is also a financial responsibility that attaches as well.
As an adoptive stepparent, you will be charged with providing for the child's emotional, mental, physical, social, educational, and financial needs. The child will also inherit from you as if they were your own natural child.
Changing the Surname of an Adopted Child
To change your child's surname and amend an Oklahoma birth certificate, the final adoption decree must reflect the name change. Once the Oklahoma State Department of Health receives a copy of the final decree, they will make the necessary changes to state records. This process is usually short and simple.
How we can help
Anytime you're dealing with legal technicalities, we recommend a family law attorney to guide you through the process. Even more so when those matters involve children.
If you are seeking to adopt the child of your spouse in Oklahoma, our team at Worden & Carbitcher can help you avoid the errors and missed paperwork that can drag out the adoption process. We have years of experience bringing families together through the adoption process.
We know how important growing your family is, and we are excited to be a part of your process. To schedule a consultation, call our office at 405-360-8036.